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#2177168 - 11/04/13 09:19 PM Evenness of touch
RaindropPrelude Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/12/09
Posts: 76
Loc: Calgary
I don't know what the exact term is, but I am referring to say each note in a scale played with the exact same intensity and touch...I struggle with this. It seems that my 1st and 3rd fingers always hit a note stronger than say the weaker 4th and 5th fingers. When I really concentrate, hands separate and glaring down at my fingers with the tempo significantly slower, I can get a smoother and more equal passage down...but it goes out the window as soon as I increase the tempo. What are some good approaches towards tackling this issue?

Thank you!
_________________________
If they cut off both hands, I will compose music anyway holding the pen in my teeth. - Shostakovich

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#2177195 - 11/04/13 09:48 PM Re: Evenness of touch [Re: RaindropPrelude]
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4890
Loc: Seattle area, WA
If you can play it the way you want to slowly, than you should practice it slowly until it is completely perfect. Then set your metronome a notch faster and do it again. Then faster, etc.

Some other ideas:
Make sure you hand is completely relaxed. Tension will cause unevenness.

Don't reach for notes with 4 and 5. This will give you a thinner sound. Try moving your hand so the weight of your hand is over 4 and 5; you'll get a better sound.

Watch your hands to see if the movement is uniform and smooth. Is every finger staying close to the keys or are some flying up and wasting time?

When your right hand is moving up the piano, move your elbow out to the right a little so your arm is not 90 degrees to the keyboard but is closer to 45 degrees. This will distribute the weight over your fingers better. Do the opposite for the left hand.

Analyze your movements to find out exactly where the unevenness is. Break the phrase apart and isolate the troublesome notes. Play them many different ways - varying wrist angle, weight, arm angle, etc., to see if you can work out the problem. Try different fingerings. Play the problem areas in varying rhythms. Play them with the downbeat in another place.
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Deborah

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#2177200 - 11/04/13 09:55 PM Re: Evenness of touch [Re: RaindropPrelude]
Atrys Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/13
Posts: 990
Uneven tone production is typically a product of poor neuromuscular control. This is very quickly addressed with any given passage by providing your central nervous system (CNS) with very exaggerated (but not tense) movements to produce each tone. The exaggerated movements provide a very high level of stimulation to your CNS and the desired results come very, very quickly. There really is not much need for over-analyzing your hands/arms here.

Play each tone forte, and very deliberately, as fast as you can play the passage, but as slow as you need to. Doing this will build the required neuromuscular control very quickly and allow you to have "even tone" even when playing much softer.


Edited by Atrys (11/04/13 09:56 PM)
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"A good intention but fixed and resolute - bent on high and holy ends, we shall find means to them on every side and at every moment; and even obstacles and opposition will but make us 'like the fabled specter-ships,' which sail the fastest in the very teeth of the wind."
R. W. Emerson

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#2177270 - 11/04/13 11:37 PM Re: Evenness of touch [Re: RaindropPrelude]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 22195
Loc: Oakland
It is always a matter of what your standards are. If you listen carefully enough, you can find imperfections in anything. I recall that Chopin believed that we could never be absolutely even if we wanted to, so the goal should be to have as much control as we can manage. So work on that, and you will become better and better.
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#2177273 - 11/04/13 11:40 PM Re: Evenness of touch [Re: RaindropPrelude]
Alan Lai Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 309
Loc: USA/Hong Kong
Originally Posted By: RaindropPrelude
I don't know what the exact term is, but I am referring to say each note in a scale played with the exact same intensity and touch...I struggle with this. It seems that my 1st and 3rd fingers always hit a note stronger than say the weaker 4th and 5th fingers. When I really concentrate, hands separate and glaring down at my fingers with the tempo significantly slower, I can get a smoother and more equal passage down...but it goes out the window as soon as I increase the tempo. What are some good approaches towards tackling this issue?

Thank you!

Consciously forcing your 3rd finger and 1st finger to play much softer when you play slowly.

This is a habit issue and takes greater effort and time to correct.

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#2177289 - 11/05/13 01:01 AM Re: Evenness of touch [Re: RaindropPrelude]
Ferdinand Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/23/07
Posts: 945
Loc: California
All the suggestion from Gooddog, above, are very good.

I would like to add, avoid "glaring" if possible.

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#2177570 - 11/05/13 01:58 PM Re: Evenness of touch [Re: Ferdinand]
RaindropPrelude Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/12/09
Posts: 76
Loc: Calgary
I try not to glare - it's a struggle!

Thank you for the suggestions. Will try it out tonight smile
_________________________
If they cut off both hands, I will compose music anyway holding the pen in my teeth. - Shostakovich

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#2177576 - 11/05/13 02:18 PM Re: Evenness of touch [Re: RaindropPrelude]
Sweet06 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/13
Posts: 411
Glaring?
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"Doesn't practicing on the piano suck?!?!"
"The joy is in the practicing. It's like relationships. Yeah, orgasms are awesome, but you can't make love to someone who you have no relationship with!"

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#2177716 - 11/05/13 07:14 PM Re: Evenness of touch [Re: RaindropPrelude]
NeilOS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/06
Posts: 617
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: RaindropPrelude
I don't know what the exact term is, but I am referring to say each note in a scale played with the exact same intensity and touch...I struggle with this. It seems that my 1st and 3rd fingers always hit a note stronger than say the weaker 4th and 5th fingers. When I really concentrate, hands separate and glaring down at my fingers with the tempo significantly slower, I can get a smoother and more equal passage down...but it goes out the window as soon as I increase the tempo. What are some good approaches towards tackling this issue?

Thank you!


Unevenness is caused by isolating the fingers from the hand, by lifting them away from the hand. In order to control the weight evenly, the fingers, hand and forearm work as a unit in a coordinate manner, dropping into the key, not pulling away from it. There is a shape to the lateral movements that propel us up and down the keyboard.

Simply put, this shape allows the forearm to be behind the finger that is playing. Try this as an introduction to shaping: In a five-finger pattern, allow your forearm to rise slightly behind each finger as it plays, the highest being at the point where the longest finger plays (3). Then, allow the arm to drop slightly behind the shorter fingers (4 and 5). The fingers are not independent agents, but they can be made to sound that way by allowing this coordination. (There is much more to consider, of course, particularly as the thumb crosses.)

Any solutions you come up with must feel easy. Otherwise, they are not the answer.


Edited by NeilOS (11/05/13 08:07 PM)
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Blog: http://www.pianoteacherlosangeles.com/

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